What Happens to Your Financial Aid if You Change Your Major Twice?

Students with demonstrated financial need can apply to receive scholarships, loans and federal grants to cover the cost of tuition and education related expenses. However, each form of aid comes with a set of conditions you must meet in order to receive full funding. Changing your major twice can cause you to lose your financial aid if it creates a direct violation of your award terms.

Aid Rules

The amount of time it takes for you to complete a degree program is limited when you receive financial aid. Scholarships and grants are usually awarded to full time students for one to six years. Even scholarships that last only for one year are helpful as they can help you avoid borrowing excessively. Financial aid rules for part time students vary based on the source of the aid and the circumstances of the student. For example, if you are utilizing a re-entry program to complete a degree on a part time basis, the terms of completing your degree may be more lenient than for a traditional full-time student.

Major Declaration

In order to graduate with a degree in a specific focus area, you must declare a major within the first two years of your college career. Declaring a major means you are making a commitment to complete a certain number of hours of required coursework in a particular field of study. For example, if you choose math as a major, there are a certain number of math courses you must take before you can graduate with a degree in mathematics. Completion of required courses, or credit hours, can take between two to three academic years depending on your enrollment status.

Changing a Major

Usually, changing your major adds a large number of new credit hours to your required coursework. With new credit hours to fulfill, students who change their major need more time to complete a degree. If your financial aid package mandates the completion of a degree within a certain time frame, changing your major twice can result in loss of your aid. This is especially true if the subjects are not closely related. In cases where you change between similar majors, or those that require many of the same courses, the added credit hours may not have a significant influence on the length of your enrollment.

Considerations

The decision to change your major can be harmful to your financial resources. It is best to stick to related subjects when changing majors or wait until graduate school to pursue a secondary concentration rather than continue changing your major. The cost of education rises annually and scholarship programs have limited funds available to students. Federal financial aid is cut off after you surpass the average amount of time it takes to complete a degree.

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